Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Transplant Waiting Lists In Australia

In Australia the percentage of dialysis patients over 65 who are on a waiting list for a transplant is surprisingly low compared to many other countries. In the UK it is 48%, in France it's 49% and in the US its 33%. But in Australia it's just 18%. The numbers are slowly falling as well, despite an increase in the numbers having dialysis. Yet patients receiving a transplant have a longer survival rate than those on dialysis. An article on the Australian site 9News reports on this problem.

The reasons for this low rate aren't totally clear - are local doctors making a decision based on limited information? Under the current law a person must have an 80 per cent chance of surviving at least five years after a transplant to be considered. Is the survival chance being estimated wrongly and suitable patients ignored?

In the Northern Territory, the rate is unusually low - reported as being just 1% (!) by just yesterday. And they say that one renal health worker in the Northern Territory says the situation amounts to institutionalised racism. Note that Indigenous Australians make up 32.5% of the population of the area (according to Wikipedia), and have reportedly had poor health treatment in many news reports over the years. So perhaps this is what the news item is referring to. But whatever the cause, 1% being on a transplant waiting list is an extremely low figured compared to other countries!